Minister of Antiquities Dr. Khaled El-Enany announced today a new discovery made by an Egyptian archaeological mission during excavation work carried out since April until now at the area located on the stony edge of King Userkaf pyramid complex in Saqqara Necropolis.
Cairo Governor, Major General Ahmed Rashid attended the announcement along with members of the Parliament and 30 ambassadors from all over the glob whom the minister of antiquities is always keen to invite them to attend the ministry of antiquities’ events and discoveries in an attempt to highlight the role that the antiquities are played as Egypt’s soft power to promote the country and its unique heritage.
Many ambassadors from Arab and foreign countries have participated in several archaeological events along last month such as the Abu Simbel Temple solar alignment phenomenon and the tours around the archaeological sites in the New Valley and Saint Catherine in South Sinai.
Dr. El-Enany explains that the mission has uncovered this time three plain New Kingdom tombs that had been used during the Late Period as cats necropolis along with four other Old Kingdom tombs, the most important of which belongs to Khufu-Imhat, the overseer of the royal buildings in the royal palace. This tomb can be dated to the late fifth and the early sixth dynasties.
He also pointed out that the Egyptian mission has selected such a site to excavate because there was a high probability that a collection of Old Kingdom tombs for individual could be uncovered around the ramp of King Userkaf pyramid complex.
A French mission has previously excavated the eastern section of the site and uncovered a collection of Old and New Kingdoms tombs that were used during the Late Period as cats graves.
The mission has stopped all excavations on site since 2008 and devoted all its work to study, document and restore some of the discovered tombs but all the works have completely stopped since 2013.
“This is the first of three upcoming new discoveries in other governorates in Egypt to be announced later before the end of 2018,” asserted Dr. El-Enany who called all attendees to be tuned.
Dr. Mostafa Waziri, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities announced that the Egyptian mission has succeeded to unearth the first ever mummies of scarabs to be unearthed in Memphis necropolis as two large mummies of scarabs have been found inside a rectangular limestone sarcophagus with vaulted lid decorated with three scarabs painted in black.
Studies on these scarabs, said Dr. Waziri, show that they are wrapped in linen and in a very good preservation condition. Another collection of scarab mummies was also found inside a more smaller and squared limestone sarcophagus decorated with one scarab painted in black.
Tens of cat mummies were also unearthed along with 100 wooden gilded statues of cats and a bronze one dedicated to the cat goddess bastet. A collection of wooden gilded statues depicting the physical features of a lion, a cow, and a falcon was also unearthed.
Painted wooden sarcophagi of Cobras with mummies found inside them were also discovered along with two wooden sarcophagi of crocodiles.
Within the debris, he continued , the mission succeeded to unearth around 1000 amulets made of faience and dedicated to different deities, among them Tawesert, Apis bull, Anubis, Djehuty, Horus, Isis, Ptah Patek, Khnum as well as other faience amulets in the shape of the Udjat eye, the white and red crowns, the Wadjat column along with five bronze amulets for deities.
Three alabaster canopic jars and writing tools such as ink pots with pens were found along with several papyri written in demotic and heretic while a third pile has chapters from the Book of the Dead. Names of two ladies were mentioned for the first time ever as their names were found engraved on a false door. The first lady named Subek Sekt and the second Mafy.
Sabri Farag, Director General of Saqqara Necropolis said that a collection of baskets and ropes made of papyri was also found along with 30 clay pots and human burials where a head rest, alabaster and bronze jars were found inside a wooden sarcophagus.
A large number of decorated stone reliefs and blocks along with parts of false doors were also found among which two blocks representing a part of the lintel of Ankh Mahur,’s tomb one of the Old Kingdom Vizier.
Orascom Investment Holding (OIH) is the sponsor of such discovery event according to the request it submitted to the ministry of antiquities to sponsorship a number of events and archaeological discoveries in accordance with the newly launched commercial sponsorship regulation.
Engineer Naguib Sawiris, the Executive Chairman of the OIH affirmed that the company’s care stems from the interest of the company to develop archaeological field and sites and to show the exceptional richness of the Egyptian civilization and to attract the attention of the world towards its magnificent monuments and great civilization so that it becomes the focus of the world as it deserves.
Among the attendees are ambassadors of Morocco, Jordan, Kuwait, Cyprus, Mexico, Italy, Malta, Hungary, France, Ireland, Arminia, South Korea, Tajikistan, Japan, Austria, and Bella Russia. The Saudi Arabia and Georgia’s Vice-Ambassadors have also attended as well as Denmark General Councillor and the cultural attaché of Czech republic, Georgia and USA. The heads of the American Research Centre in Cario and the responsible of culture at UNESCO were also among the attendees.